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Day 1: Chancellor Mnookin starts her work

August 4, 2022

On her first day as the 30th leader of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin toured campus and met with students, faculty, administrators and others in the UW–Madison community. She even found time for ice cream. Here is some of where her day took her.

To see what else Chancellor Mnookin is up to, follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

6 P.M., Aug. 4

Chatting with shared-governance leaders over BBQ

Chancellor Mnookin hosted a BBQ dinner for shared-governance leaders hosted on the grounds of Olin House, the official residence of the UW–Madison Chancellor. Shared governance gives representation to academic staff, university staff, faculty and students, who all take part in making significant decisions concerning the operation of the university.

2 p.m., Aug. 4

And then, time for ice cream

More than 3,000 cups of Babcock ice cream were served during an ice cream social on Bascom Hill to celebrate and welcome Chancellor Mnookin. She handed out ice cream alongside a host of other campus leaders, including College of Letters & Science Dean Eric Wilcots and School of Medicine and Public Health Dean Robert Golden.

Students, faculty, staff and other members of the UW–Madison community showed up to greet Mnookin and introduce her to traditions like ice cream on the hill, the fanfare of the UW Marching Band and the playfulness of the chicken dance. Mnookin said her favorite Babcock flavor — so far — is orange custard chocolate chip. The jury is still out what namesake ice cream may be in her future … Read more about the ice cream social and see more photos.

Noon, Aug. 4

Listening and learning with UW–Madison faculty

Faculty in each of UW–Madison’s 13 schools and colleges joined Chancellor Mnookin for lunch at the Orchard Room at the Discovery Building. It was a chance for her to hear directly from a diverse cross-section of the university’s talented junior and tenured professors.

Those in attendance appreciated the thoughtful campus community-building approach to the gathering, noting that it was a great opportunity to both meet the new Chancellor and interact with colleagues they would not otherwise regularly connect with.

11 a.m., Aug. 4

Sharing ideas and perspective with the media

As part of her first day on campus, Chancellor Mnookin took time for one-on-one interviews with reporters and news hosts from Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin, the Wisconsin State Journal and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Affordability, the Wisconsin Idea and Chancellor Mnookin’s plans for listening, learning and building a collective vision for the university based on input from campus and others in the community and state were much of her focus. Throughout her first days on campus she will speak with other reporters interested in her ideas and perspectives.

10 A.M., Aug. 4

Touring the College of Engineering

Grainger Dean of the College of Engineering Ian Robertson welcomed new Chancellor Mnookin to the Engineering campus Thursday morning to help introduce her to the college’s teaching and research laboratories; shared spaces such as the Huibregtse Commons that foster interaction between faculty, staff, students and guests; and facilities that are undergoing or are scheduled for renovation, redesign and upgrade.

Representatives of Facilities Planning & Management accompanied a tour of the labs and student computing facilities in 1410 Engineering Drive that focused on plans to replace the aging building with one that can better serve the needs of the college as it grows toward its goal of increasing undergraduate enrollment from 4,500 to 5,500 students.

Mnookin got an up-close look at HSX, one of two large-scale fusion experiments in Engineering aimed at turning the fusion process that powers our sun into a source of energy that is nearly limitless and nearly free of waste and emissions. At the Grainger Engineering Design and Innovation Laboratory — where students can use rapid prototyping equipment and other resources to explore emerging technology — Mnookin met with Engineering professors Christian Franck, Jason Kawasaki, Christy Remucal and Reid van Lehn to talk about their research, as well as the impact, depth and breadth of the work done by their colleagues in the college.

8 a.m., Aug. 4

Breakfast with student leaders

Chancellor Mnookin started her first day by sharing breakfast with 11 student leaders, including two graduate students, at Steenbock’s on Orchard in the Discovery Building.

Mnookin, who previously served dean of the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, had a good discussion with the students, who shared with her what they like best about UW–Madison, and some of what they hope campus can make progress on as time goes on.


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